MANILA - Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri on Monday clarified that his plan to bring his family to his home province Bukidnon for "cleaner air" is not yet final and will only be considered after the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) is lifted.
Netizens earlier criticized Zubiri's alleged exercise of privilege after he told senators during a Senate session that he would take his family to the province during the global pandemic "for cleaner air" and to give them "more space to walk around."
"Once the ECQ has been lifted, I'm taking my whole family, with the permission of the DILG back to Bukidnon for cleaner air and more space to walk around with," Zubiri told senators shortly before the May 4 session was adjourned.
"Please correct that. That is only after lockdown... Hindi pa sure kung uuwi ako sa probinsya," he told ABS-CBN News in a text message when asked about his travel plans.
"If I do [go back to Bukidnon], it's when it's no longer ECQ," he said.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier extended Metro Manila's lockdown until May 15 as the number of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases in the Philippines continues to rise.
Under the policy, individuals in areas under enhanced community quarantine are banned from leaving the city, town or region to avoid spreading the disease in other parts of the Philippines.
Lawmakers are "exempted from the travel ban," Zubiri earlier told reporters in a press conference, when asked about how Sen. Ronald Dela Rosa managed to travel to Manila from his hometown Davao City to attend Monday's session.